Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Frederick Hall House, Ionia, MI

The Frederick Hall House, Ionia, MI. 1869-70 Photo by Teegan Baiocchi.

Photo: HABS

The Hall house in Ionia is a particularly exuberant symmetrical plan house. The house was built in 1869-70 for Frederick Hall, a banker and public official in Ionia in the 1840s and 50s; it is currently used as a library. The builder was Capt. Lucius Mills. This house, like the Blanchard house in the same town, is built out of the unique sandstone quarried nearby in Lyons, MI, giving it the same colorful effect. The selection of the stone is less emphatic in its use of dark veins. The cornice frieze and corner quoins are also made of sandstone. Evidently in Ionia, this type of sandstone was a prestige building material that attracted local notables.

Again, features of the 1860s and 70s abound. The hood moldings over the side segmented arched windows are thick as is that over the central round arched window. The center window employs the Venetian or Florentine (both descriptors are found) tracery, suggestive of elegant urban Renaissance architecture. This tracery is repeated in the left side porch design where it is curvier and more Gothic looking. The glazed right side porch also has the Venetian tracery. The back porch has yet another type of decoration, flat top trefoil arches pierced by a horizontal band. The by now familiar trefoil arch shape is found in the front porch and in the gable window that is pointed to match the gable's outline in a way similar to the Kellogg house. The cornice has a band of horizontal molding, forming an empty frieze and is pierced by long icicle-like brackets, also like the Blanchard house. Instead of s-curves, the brackets feature square pierced designs. The brackets in the gable are shallower and less ornamented. There are such similarities, that the Blanchards seem to have been influenced by this house's design. The cupola of the house is of a unique octagonal shape with each bay pierced by tombstone windows and a shallow hip roof crowning the whole. The following photos show other facades of the house and interiors, all from HABS.

This photo shows the side porch with its odd Gothic rendition of Venetian tracery.
The interiors of the house remain surprisingly intact given its adaptation as a public library. The staircase includes original lincrusta beneath the chair rail. The photos show that much of the original interior finish, especially the wallpaper, even on the ceilings, is intact. The last picture seems to depict the room at the center of the second story.

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